- Jan 25, 2021
One of the leading Catholic authorities in the United Arab Emirates has said he believes Pope Francis’s visit to the nation next week will showcase the effectiveness of the pontiff’s strategy with Islam, and will potentially help move the push for greater religious tolerance in the region forward.
Pope Francis will have St. Francis of Assisi on his mind when he visits Abu Dhabi Feb. 3-5 and Morocco in late March.
“Al Salamu Alaikum,” Arabic for “peace be with you,” Pope Francis said at the beginning of a video message to the people of the United Arab Emirates, which he will visit Feb. 3-5.
Pope Francis’s visit to the UAE from Feb. 3 through Feb. 5 marks the first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula, the birthplace of Islam. The pontiff will visit Abu Dhabi, the headquarters of the Catholic Church’s Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia, which covers the UAE, Oman and Yemen.
Pope Francis will “encourage the Catholics throughout the world to continue to put into practice the teachings of the Church regarding dialogue with Muslims” when he visits the United Arab Emirates, according to one expert on interreligious dialogue.
In an airborne press conference on Sunday, Pope Francis strove to “deflate” expectations for a summit on clerical sexual abuse next month and also rejected optional celibacy for Catholic priests.